A historic novel set in 1936 Brooklyn. It was an era when the Navy Yard sang, when Coney Island was bright lights and pure enchantment, and Wednesdays held the promise of Dish Night at the Loews 46th Street Theater. The elevated train, or El, was the lifeline that coursed through it all.
In the El's shadow, an earthy, ebullient Italian-American family resides: Poppa, the beneficent patriarch; Bridget, his devoted wife and mother of their six grown children; Rosanna, their eldest, who is married to Tony, a dangerous drunk; Kewpie, their nubile teenage daughter; and Tiger, their scrappy ten-year old son. A stark drama quickly unfolds as a terrible secret is revealed.
The El weaves a timeless family saga through a colorful array of unmistakably Brooklyn characters as the Paradisos weather seasons of joy, loss and desire, and experience simple delights in the midst of the Depression. Here, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It is a place of unconditional and unrequited love, where the unimaginable is indeed possible, and the whims of a violent alcoholic threaten to destroy the idyllic applecart of the entire clan's existence. The El is at once homey and horrific, lusty and innocent, fanciful and shocking. It is a complicated mosaic of light and dark, fired with savory flavors and vivid images.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.85(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Brooklyn we are raised to be tough. To work through our problems with our family by our side. This family bond and togetherness was even more felt during the depression era. When people's lives were falling apart, family and friends were there to get you through it. In the novel "The El" by Catherine Gigante-Brown this feeling is captured through out the pages of the novel. The descriptions of family life that Mrs. Gigante- Brown describes in her novel make the time period palpable. The emotional state of the characters, the frustrations, fear, and torment they feel are felt within your own soul as you read. The pain and suffering of the mother, Rosanna and the love she feels for her children and parents flow through the book like blood through the veins, a constant heart beat. The grime and grit of the sleazy room that the drunken and abusive alcoholic husband, Tony stays in with his "floozy" actually turn your stomach. I read this book in two days. I could not put it down. I was thirsting to find out what happens to the family and hoped that they would come through their struggle stronger for all the pain and torment they go through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience the trials, tribulations and survival of a family during the 1930's. Intertwined in this book are interesting tidbits and treasures about Brooklyn neighborhoods,ways of speech and life that it makes you feel you are on a walking tour of this amazing borough. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves history, struggle and a story of survival even against insurmountable odds.
While reading was reminded of the good old Brooklyn landmarks that only the natives know. The description of the food alone is worth it. Now that I am done I discovered that I was emotionally involved with the characters and was disturbed by some of the events and could not sleep. They made me ponder about deeper issues Even now there is a sense of remorse that the book is finished. The Verdict: It is literature! I can hardly wait for the next one!
Grreat characters in brooklyn with recipes.